PATERSON, NJ — Newly released video recorded back in December shows two Paterson plainclothes police officers repeatedly punch a 19-year-old man who was on his way to work.
State and county prosecutors launched an investigation into the allegation that the officers in New Jersey assaulted Osamah Alsaidi “without provocation.” Officials said Monday the public integrity and accountability office of the state attorney general’s office would be investigating along with Passaic County prosecutors.
Alsaidi, now 20, asserted that he was attacked for no reason.
Police were in the neighborhood on Dec. 14 responding to reports of a suspicious person. Video shows them stop Alsaidi, who was on his way to work at an Amazon warehouse. He told PIX11 the officers didn’t explain why they’d stopped him.
“They just said ‘what did you say?’ and I said ‘nothing, I didn’t say nothing” Alsaidi explained. “The officers came up to me and said ‘what did you say again?’ And then he started throwing punches at me.”
Video shows the encounter escalate seven seconds after the officers approached Alsaidi. The officer on the right threw at least a dozen punches at Alsaidi.
Alsaidi said he suffered bruises and a concussion.
But the Paterson Police Department report of the same incident tells a very different story.
“After a few moments the Mr. Alsidi then got closer to these officers and proceeded to get in an aggressive fighting stance by blading his body and clutching his fist,” the report states. “Mr. Alsidi proceeded to get closer to this writer and struck this writer with a closed fist about the chest area causing this writer to stumble back.”
It continues: “Officer Tineo then removed Mr. Alsidi from my persons and put him in a compliance hold advising him to stop resisting, as he was actively resisting arrest by tensing his body and swinging his upper torso erratically.”
Alsaidi’s criminal defense attorney, Akram Alsaidi (no relation to the victim) said the saving grace is in his client’s case is the surveillance video.
“To add insult to injury, they file a police report which is completely contradicted by the video,” the attorney said.
Selaedin Maksut, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in New Jersey, has pushed for the still unidentified officers to be removed from the force.
“We’re hoping that action be taken and that community leaders speak out and call for the termination of the officers that aggressively assaulted and the falsified the reports,” Maksut said.
PIX11 reached out to the Paterson Police Department and the office of Mayor Andre Sayegh. Both had declined to comment as of Tuesday morning.
Anyone with information is asked to call investigators.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on Feb. 16, 2020 to reflect the fact that Alsaidi is now 20.